Gor is probably the most misunderstood community in Second life. With this article, I will try to explain what Gor really is. The idea is to help noobs (sorry, but I just love that term) to understand, what Gor is all about and to settle within the environment.
Gor ist a world described in 29 fantasy nouvelles, written by Professor John Norman (American Professor of Philosophy), called “the Chronicles of Gor”. The author describes a world on a planet in the same orbit as Earth, but exactly on the other side of the sun, also referred to as the counter-earth. The story of the Gor books is about people, from various different ancient cultures of Earth being abducted and brought to different parts of Gor by aliens, referred to as the “Priest Kings”.
Those cultures, or counter cultures are: Ancient Greek/Roman for the most part, but also Phoenician, Turkish (Ottoman), Bedouin, Mongolian, native American, Viking and in the most recent book ancient Japanese were added as well.
The Priest Kings let a society develop, not being allowed to have modern technology and sophisticated weaponry and being separated from Earth morals, ethics and believes. This is also called the Gorean experiment. The result is a harsh and cruel world, in which the fittest survive and reproduce, where the strong dominate the weak , where one who can’t be strong takes his place as a slave.
A world where strict codes of honor make sure, that the well-being of a group is always regarded higher than the well-being of the individual. The group, may it be city, a tribe or a caste, guarantees the survival of the species and is therefore the highest and most respected thing – symbolized by the Home Stone. Gorean philosophy promotes a Darwinian view on humans, as well as domination and submission being part of keeping the natural order of things.
Much of it is based on Plato´s and Aristotle´s writings about the nature of humans and the ideal society. It also promotes, that men are usually dominant by nature and women are submissive by nature. Needless to say it’s a men´s world! In Second Life people have built cities, which resemble cities or regions described in the books for the purpose of role play. Individual players adopt a role, which could have existed on the fictive planet of Gor and immerse into role play.
Contrary to common belive and gossip, Gorean role players do not eat your children, nor do they try to make part of a sect or a cult. It’s just another role play environment like star wars, wild west, star track or the roman empire. There are however some “Goreans” which are taking it a bit to far in my opinion and that is when it becomes weird at its best and outright dangerous at its worst. We call those “livestylers”.
So, you are interested to join the Gorean role play community in Second life, but you don’t know how to get started? Ok, let me give you some little tips what your initial steps should be.
The following is only applicable to what is called BTB (by the books) regions. There are other Gor regions, which are loosely based on the books and typically labeled “Gor evolved”. They really have very little to do with Gor and are very focused on the combat aspect of the game.
1. Adult Theme!
First of all you need to realize that Gor is an adult theme. In Gor things like sex scenes, rape, slavery, forced enslavement, violence and assassinations are part of Gorean every day live. It is a harsh world and not for the faint hearted. If you are easily offended by such content then Gor is not for you.
Most Gor regions in Second Life are for those reasons adult rated. To participate in the game, you need to verify your account as being an adult’s account. The way to do this is: Log in at www.secondlife.com and go to account verification. There you can verify your age. If you have given Linden Lab your credit card details to make payments, your account is automatically adult verified.
2. Choose Gender!
You do not have to play your real life gender. It is commonly accepted within the Gorean role play community, to play the opposite gender if you want to. This is especially important for women who would like to have some of the fighting action, because as a general rule there are no female warriors on Gor.
The only female fighting role on Gor, are the so-called Panther Girls or Forest Girls and their Southern counter part the Talunas which are outlaw women living in small bands in the forests, outside of regular Gorean civilization. So if you are a female player but you want to play a warrior, mercenary, pirate or a similar role, please choose the male gender!
3. Choose Status
What I mean by that is: Choose whether you want to play a slave or a free person to start with. Both genders can be slaves on Gor. The female version is usually called a Kajira the male version is a Kajirus. If you choose the slave-role be aware that it is very hard to develop your character realistically into a free person, actually almost impossible if played correctly. However, changing status from free to slave within your storyline is easy.
This is why I always recommend to start as a free person, even if the slave-role does intrigue you. At this stage there is one important thing that you need to understand: In-game we make a difference between IC = In Character and OOC= Out of Character. If you choose the slave role, you decided to play a slave IC with all consequences but not to be one. OOC you are NOT a slave and not considered such.
If you speak to other players in OOC mode (for example in IMs) you are equal to anybody else. If anybody demands from you, to behave as a slave in OOC mode (this does actually happen!) tell him/her to fuck off! Those people belong to a group called “online livestylers” and are not worth your time as a role player, unless you want to experience their “lifestyle” (which is a D/s relationship with a Gorean touch to it).
A nice way to learn how to “be” a slave on Gor is this: Play a slave girl on gor.
4. Choose cultural background!
Gor is not Gor from a cultural perspective. Gor is a mix of several different cultures based on different ancient Earth cultures. If you would look at a map of the planet Gor, you could divide the planet in cultural regions. In which one you want to play is totally up to you and only depends on your personal preference.
Bear in mind that for some Gorean cultures there might be more choice of different sims than for others. For the most part, Gor consist of a culture that is based on ancient Greek/Roman civilization. This part is the civilized center of Gor and includes the majority of the big Cities. Imagine an environment like Rome during the punic wars and you are not far off.
The advantage of choosing this “mainstream” Gor is the choice of different cities you can play. Another important part of Gor would be the maritime powers of Gor, which are based on ancient Carthage. Those would be the cities of Tyros, Cos and Port Kar. In the book’s story line the hostilities between the city of AR ( counter earth to Rome) and the Island power of Cos (counter earth of Carthage) are one of the main plots, which follow through the entire series. The Gor story is predominantly the counter earth version of the punic wars. If you don’t know what that is, please take a minute and read the Wikipedia article about it: Punic Wars in Wikipedia
Other popular cultural settings in Second Life Gor would be:
Located in the very North of the planet and resembles medieval viking cultures of earth.
Located in the South East of the planet and resembles ancient ottoman/arabic cultures of earth.
Plains of Turia
Located in the South West of the planet and resembles Mongol/Tartaric riders and the ancient cities of Samarkand (Turia), Bagdad (Tor) and Kairo (Kasra).
Located in the North of the planet. A waste area of forests and small towns along the Laurius River. The Cities of Lydius, Kassau and Laura would be located in this area. The forest itself is home of many outlaw bands including the famous Panther Girls (Gorean version of the Scythian Amazons in Greek mythologies). There are some more cultures described in the books but those have a negligible presence in Second Life. It is paramount to understand that customs and roles in these areas vary substantially, which is why you will often hear different opinions about what is and what is not Gorean.
5. Choose your role
Mainstream Gor is based on a caste system. It is assumed that Goreans are born into a caste. Hence you need to choose a caste for your character. There are low and so-called high castes on Gor. The five high castes are in order of importance: The initiates, the scribes, the physicians, the builders and the warriors. What distinguishes the high from the low castes is that the high castes serve the public and form the city governments. Low castes would for example be : The merchants, the peasants, the fishermen and so on…Choose your caste wisely as it is very unusual to change caste in the life of a character. This does not apply to the desert tribes or Thorwaldsland where the caste system does not exist.
Low and high in this context has nothing to do with wealth. This would be the way we think in our earth western culture. High castes are high castes on Gor for their purpose not their money. In fact the rich people described in the books are of the low caste of the merchants and slavers whilst many characters of high caste are described as rather poor and actually not much interested in wealth anyway. Playing a rich warrior with a huge mansion and dozens of slaves is actually as silly as playing a merchant who is extremly skilled in sword fighting and even wins combats against experienced warriors. Make a choice and accept the downsides of a role too. You can’t have it all!
Second life is a visual medium. Role play starts at the point of getting the correct attire. There are a lot of shops In-World, where you can get the right attire. Unfortunately there are also a lot of shops which sell stuff labeled as “Gorean” which has hardly anything to do with how Goreans are described in the books. I will soon open a section on this blog with links to shops that make authentic Gorean attire. If you own such a shop, please get in touch so I can add you to the list. Please understand that I only add shops that provide attire and weapons which resemble those described in the books. Get in touch In-World or send me a notecard.
7. Read at least one or two of the Gor books
It doesn’t take much time to read one book does it? Ideally you read the first one “Tarnsmen of Gor” which gives you a pretty good overview about what Gor is all about and then one that is about the region or the role you have chosen to play.
Here you can buy the first book: Tarnsman of Gor (Gorean Saga 1)
Here some recommendations based on popular Gorean regions or roles:
Turia and Plains: Book 3, Nomads of Gor (Mongols and City of Samarkand)
Port Kar, Cos and Tyros: Book 5, Raiders of Gor (Carthage and the Phoenicians)
City of Ar: Book 6, Assassins of Gor (Rome)
Forest Region and Panther Girls: Books 7, Captive of Gor and book 8, Hunters of Gor (Cythian Amazons in Greek mythologie)
Torwaldsland: Book 9, Mauroders of Gor (Vikings)
Desert Region: Book 10, Tribesmen of Gor (early Ottoman Empire and Northern African tribal cultures)
Slaves: Book 22, Dancer of Gor
8. Choose a SIM
Take you time on that one. Most sims offer observer tags. That means you wear a tag that identifies you as non-role playing avatar and just watching whats going on. As an observer do not use open chat as you might disturb ongoing role play. However you will find that Gorean role players are very helpful if you IM them to ask questions about whats going on. This way you also will see the methods of role play such as using emotes, weapons or animations used.
9. You think you are ready?
Then don’t be shy, get going. We all made mistakes in the beginning and we still make them. Not a big deal, not the end of the world. And don’t forget what it is all about: have fun! Welcome on the other side of the sun!
If you want to get set up for Gorean role play, just contact me in-world, I actually enjoy couching people for Gor.
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